Over the past couple of lessons, we’ve looked at how Jesus fulfills the promise of Sabbath. We’ve looked at Him as our Sabbath rest, as our our spiritual freedom, and as our eternal redemption. In this last lesson, we’re going to look at Jesus as our healer. As the Sabbath was a time of healing and restoration for God’s people and His land, so too does Jesus heal and restore us.
Leviticus 25:3-4 reads:
For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits, but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land…
This was a time for the land to heal after years of cultivation and strain. Furthermore, the forgiveness of debts, the freedom of slaves, and the redemption of land during the Sabbath years and the Years of Jubilee provided a healing that went further than the land. These acts of redemption and forgiveness provided healing to families and individuals throughout the land of Israel. Sabbath was a time of collective healing and restoration.
The Great Physician
Many miracles during Jesus’ ministry involved healing. He brought children back from death. He made the paralyzed walk. He restored sight to the blind. He healed, and He healed, and He healed. Time and again, Jesus took a person with health issues or disabilities, and He made them whole.
His power of physical illnesses would serve to prove the power He has over the spiritual. To see this, let’s examine Matthew 9:1-8:
And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”
And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.”
But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
Furthermore, Jesus addresses this type of restoration in Mark 2:16-17, when He was coming under criticism for the ungodly company He kept:
And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
This is why Jesus came, and this is the restoration He promises us. It is not a message of temporary healing; it is one of eternal spiritual health. He takes away our sins and heals us of the pain and guilt that can leave us so spiritually disabled and pained. He reaches down to heal us and restore us to God the Father so we may walk in spiritual wholeness.
I Peter 2:24 simply states that we have been healed because He was wounded, and I John 1:7 tells us that Jesus’ blood heals us from all sins. Our illness was so great that our Physician had to sacrifice Himself to restore us. Nothing less could do. This goes beyond letting the land restore its nutrients. This is bigger than the discouragements and grudges worldly debts can produce. This is about healing us from the sickness of sins in a way they we can be restored to God and be free from all spiritual debts.
This is a greater healing than anything we can experience in this life, but like our recoveries here in this world, our Physician requires us to make some changes. Paul says, in II Corinthians 7:1, that we should cleanse ourselves of worldly defilements because of the healing we have in Christ. Because we have been restored, we should now strive to stay away from those things that infected us to begin with. We wash our hands and disinfect ourselves of sin.
Think of this like a heart disease. Anyone who has survived a heart condition knows they have to make changes to their lives to reduce the risk of a second, and potentially more serious, attack. They have to change the foods they eat and the activities they pursue, and we have to do the same when we are healed from sin. No longer do we feed ourselves from the world. No longer to we pursue the things of this life. Instead we look up, and we sustain ourselves with spirituality and hope.
Our Savior, Our Healer, Our Sabbath
To conclude, let’s return to where we started these lessons in Mark 4:16, when Jesus read from Isaiah to the synagogue in Nazareth:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
This is who Jesus is to all who believe on Him. He heals. He restores. He redeems. He releases, and He provides rest. He is our Sabbath hope if we let Him in and reshape us after His image. Don’t let the illness of sin afflict you any longer. Come to Jesus, and He will heal you. He will restore your soul to its former purity, and He will raise you up to a better hope than any found in this world.
lesson by Robert Smelser